DeltaCap, a NICHE project announced over the summer, will help develop the necessary capacity and skills for Bangladesh to implement its Delta Plan 2100. The current project inception phase has included a workshop, recently held in Dhaka, to determine priority training and knowledge needs, leading up to the full project launch in January, 2017.
Bangladesh’s low-lying coastal regions often suffer from monsoon floods and tropical cyclones. As well as bringing destruction to property and posing a risk to life, these floods cause health problems through disease transmission and contaminated drinking water. Combined with population growth climate change is likely to make the situation worse with some estimates suggesting that by 2050 an extra 15% of the country could be vulnerable to flooding, impacting more than 30 million people in the coastal districts.
The country’s Delta Plan 2100, developed with the assistance of the Government of the Netherlands, grew from a recognition on the part of the Government of Bangladesh of the need for an integrated response to current and future threats; a response which prioritizes strategic and coordinated planning. It also proposes decentralisation of water management and the regionalisation of water related policies.
DeltaCap will help the Delta Plan to meet the demand for skilled water professionals who are able to respond to the complexity of current water challenges, developing capacity through an emphasis on training and knowledge transference, as well as increasing transparency of efforts, making longer term plans and implementing them while involving various stakeholders at multiple levels.
Starting with the needs of stakeholders
As one of the central pillars of DeltaCap is strong stakeholder engagement, the project team met with water professionals, training and education providers, as well as beneficiaries, in Dhaka, 23-26 October. During the ensuing workshops, participants were able to collectively outline needs and make suggestions for how best to roll out the project, based on current scenarios and challenges.
Some of the agreed capacity needs to be developed through training include; developing awareness about, and use of, longer term planning tools – including integrated assessments and scenario building; linking planning and maintenance at national level with that at local/district level; development of integrated, pro-poor, ecosystem based and gender-sensitive solutions; use of participatory water management techniques; integrated and inter-sectoral assessments for longer term planning, vulnerability and risk assessment; policy development for transboundary water management and diplomacy; and identification/integration of multi-benefits to end-users.
The project focusses mainly on developing and facilitating the training activities, as well as creating the Sustainable Delta Management Centre, a knowledge sharing centre for lectures, practical exercises and the assessment and collation of field work. Additionally, the project may also conduct feasibility studies to test the likely practical implementations of intended solutions. All this, in order to support implementation efforts once the Bangladesh Delta Plan is approved.
Built with the ambition to scale up and replicate across other deltas
Working together with the Delta Alliance, a knowledge-driven network of delta professionals, through the Bangladesh Wing, will confer two principle advantages for DeltaCap. Firstly, the organization will help with the coordination of the numerous Bangladeshi entities working on delta management issues both as providers, as well as being recipients of the new knowledge. Secondly, sustainable delta management activities need scaling up both at national and international scale. Nationally, the project can be scaled up by further involving Delta Alliance Bangladesh Wing partners. Internationally the project approach to capacity development through needs based training and knowledge, can be replicated in other deltas. The topics and themes covered can then be tailored to the specific needs of the delta region.
DeltaCap is a Netherlands Initiative for Capacity development in Higher Education (NICHE) project, with Nuffic support of 1 million Euros. The project is jointly led by UNESCO-IHE and Wageningen University and Research, and implemented in close cooperation with the Government of Bangladesh and various other partners. It will be launched in January, and then run until August 2020.